Tom’s uncle grows tomatillos in his garden and we have been gifted with a LOT of them over the past couple of months (Thanks, Ralph!). I’m certainly not complaining because as you can probably tell if you’ve been reading for a bit, I’m a big fan of tomatillos.
We do some sort of shredded meat for Mexican fare pretty often in this house. The kids go nuts for it and we love it too, of course. If it’s not beef, then we use chicken or pork and do anything from serving it burrito-bowl style on top of lime rice or quinoa with lots of garnishes, tostadas with baked corn tortillas, or soft tacos. I make the braising sauce the night before (and you can even go ahead and put the chicken with the sauce in the bowl of your crockpot and refrigerate it overnight), so there is nothing to do in the morning but turn on the slow cooker.
You could use jarred salsa, of course, but when making a braising liquid is this easy, why not give it a try? All you need to do is throw some stuff on a broiling pan, broil it, and puree it in the food processor. As my 4 year old would say, “easy peasy lemon squeezy.”
Oh! And in an effort to make this time-sensitive since everyone else is posting Thanksgiving fare (whoops!), you could totally use the sauce on top of leftover turkey, just simmer it for a short amount of time to absorb it or just mix the two together and make the tamale pie below.
Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken or Pork
1.25 lbs. tomatillos, peeled, washed, cut in half
2 plum tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 tsp. cumin
juice of one lime
1 (~2 lb.) pork roast or 2 lbs. skinned chicken thighs or breasts (bone-in or out)
optional add-ins like beans, corn, etc.
Preheat the broiler to high and place the rack very close to the broiling element. Place the tomatillos and tomatoes cut-side down on a large broiling pan. Add the poblano, jalapeño, garlic and onion to the pan. Broil until peppers are blackened and blistered and tomatillos are splotchy and softened. Flip everything over and broil until other side looks the same. (Alternatively, you can also use a dry cast iron pan on the stove top and char the poblano directly on a gas flame.)
Place the poblano in a bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin. Remove the core and coarsley chop the pepper. Cut the jalapeño into a couple of pieces and place in a food processor with the poblano, tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, cumin, lime juice, and salt to taste. Process until smooth. If too thick, add a little water (remember that the meat will give up juices, so even if it’s pretty thick, it should be fine).
Place the chicken or pork in the slow cooker and pour the tomatillo sauce over the top. Cook on low for about 8 hours. Shred the meat and season to taste. If liquidy, take the lid off the slow cooker, increase heat to high and cook for 5-10 minutes to thicken. If you want, add cooked black beans or corn (fresh or frozen) to the meat at the end to warm throw.
1.25 cups masa harina
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of Kosher salt and a few cranks freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. softened butter
1/2 cup corn (optional)
1 cup water, broth, or milk
shredded pork or chicken from recipe above
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 375.
To make the tamale pie topping, use a fork to mix the masa, baking powder, salt, pepper, and butter. If using, stir in the corn. Add the liquid slowly, continuing to mix with a fork (you likely will not need the entire cup of liquid). The dough should be soft and still a little wet when pinched together (but should be able to be pinched together).
Add the black beans to the shredded meat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Plop pieces of the masa topping onto the baking dish to make sure the entire surface is covered (use your hands or a spatula to flatten/spread). Spray the top with cooking oil and then place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until crust is set and firm to the touch (but not crunch or dry). Rest for a few minutes before digging in.